Mulan (2020) Movie Review

Director: Niki Caro

Writer: Rich Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Elizabeth Martin, Lauren Hynek (Screenplay)

Starring: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Li Gong, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Tzi Ma

Plot: A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father. A live-action feature film based on Disney’s ‘Mulan.’

Tagline – Loyal, Brave, True.

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Mulan starts as Bori Khan (Lee) looks to start a new war on the Emperor (Li), which sees the Emperor demand one male from every family to come forward and fight for China. Mulan (Liu) the eldest daughter of Zhou (Ma) disguises herself as a male soldier to represent her family in battle.

Mulan joins the forces under Commander Tung (Yen) who looks to bring out the best in her abilities, the abilities which could well be the difference in the war.


Thoughts on Mulan

Characters – Mulan grew up with a sense of adventure, she never wanted to follow the traditions of village, she wanted to become a warrior like her father, being a woman meant she wasn’t allowed to enter this world, but when it came to her family needing to send a male to war, she pretends to be a man to fight for the honour of her family, for her country, proving to be one of the deadliest warriors in the war. Commander Tung is assigned to lead the honour of China’s imperial army putting together the troops, following the rules of creating the fiercest male soldiers. Xianniang is the witch fighting against the Emperor, she sees the power in Mulan and wants to help her become the warrior she was destine to become, even if it meant they would fight on opposite sides of the battle. The Emperor is the leader of China, he needs to put together an army to protect the people from a vengeful threat. Bori Khan saw his father killed in the hands the Emperor, now he has built an army to take control of China at any price, bringing together other fallen soldiers to make his army feared and dangerous, with a witch leading their moves.

PerformancesYifei Liu in the leading role is great to watch, the handling of the conflict scenes, the undercover scenes and fighting against outdated traditions comes strong from her performance. Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee and Tzi Ma bring the male leads to life with their own style you would have come to expect to see in them. Li Gong brings us the colourful witch who wanted change to life.

StoryThe story here follows a young Chinese woman Mulan that defies the rules of her homeland to become a warrior that will look to fight for the dynasty to save the Emperor. This is a remake that does bring the animated favourite to life, losing a lot of the fantasy elements, focusing on the Mulan, a woman looking to defy the traditions to defend her homeland and family honour. This does show that traditions can be broken to make something big happen in life, break traditions to start new ones. While this does show the change happening, it still comes off very safe, with the villainous character not looking like a truly terrifying figure, not showing enough of what they are trying to fight for in their battles.

Action/AdventureThe action scenes are big, while they do have a couple of strange camera angles, while the massive battle scenes don’t bring anything new to the game.

SettingsThe film looks visually beautiful landscapes for the scenes, with discovery location that Mulan visits to be alone being a place of true beauty.

Scene of the Movie – Avalanche attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Bori Khan doesn’t feel like the threat he is implied to be.

Final Thoughts This is a beautiful Disney Live Action Remake that brings to life the characters in a way that feel most natural from the animated one.

Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot (2020) Movie Review

Director: Giles Alderson

Writer: Simon Cotton, Jonny Grant (Screenplay) Giles Alderson, Simon Cotton, Jonny Grant (Story)

Starring: Richard Brake, Richard Short, Ronan Summers, Stella Stocker, Olivia Bernstone, Joe Egan

Plot: A much older King Arthur returns home after fighting the Roman Empire. His illegitimate son has corrupted the throne of Camelot. Now King Arthur must reunite with the wizard Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table and fight to get back his crown.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Game of Thrones the Arthur & Merlin Edition

Story: Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot starts as Arthur (Short) has led battles across the land, leaving his illegitimate son Modred (Phillimore) ruling Camelot, Arthur learns the news of Modred’s new ideas and must return with his most loyal men Merlin (Brake) and the knights of the round table to reclaim his throne.

We follow the journey Arthur and his men take, filled with visits from characters who might help or hinder the mission to take back the throne, while Modred is doing everything he can to make sure, his reign will be remembered.

Thoughts on Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot

Characters – Arthur has been fighting for the land of England, he leads his men into battle only to learn his illegitimate son has bought a new rule to England. He leads his most loyal men in a plan to reclaim his throne. Merlin visits Arthur when he needs him most, providing his wisdom in his time of need. Most of the familiar names from the round table are here too, only they don’t seem to do much else in the story, while Modred is the evil ruler who is trying to use his new power to change the land for his own gain against his father’s wishes.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are not the strongest, with most of the cast struggling to make their character feel like they are reaching the bigger impact.

StoryThe story here follows Arthur and the knights of the round table as they look to reclaim the throne from a new toxic leader that wants to cause more war. This is like watching another version of Game of Thrones, we are watching the desire to regain power, while a new ruler is trying to bring a new conflict to the land. It is a battle for power, which does have plenty of side stories that just don’t come in complete connection to everything going on within the biggest story arc, not enough time is given to the small sides of things, while the action is held back more than you would have imagined for a story involving the iconic characters involved here. It is getting to a stage where the King Arthur storylines have been overdone and need to have a rest.

AdventureThe adventure side of the film shows the journey that Arthur and his men undertook to return to Camelot.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to take us back to the era the film is set in, with the massive castle being the target for the journey.

Scene of the Movie – The Lady in the Lake.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not enough character about the characters.

Final Thoughts This is another one of those King Arthur storylines that tries to bring something new, only to end up feeling like it is just ripping off Game of Thrones.

Overall: Disappointing of Thrones.

Signature Entertainment presents Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot on DVD & Digital HD from July 13th

Valhalla: Legend of Thor (2019) Movie Review

Director: Fenar Ahmad

Writer: Fenar Ahmad, Adam August (Screenplay) Peter Madsen (Comics)

Starring: Roland Moller, Salome Gunnarsdottir, Patricia Schumann, Jacob Lohmann, Andreas Jessen, Lara Johanna Jonsdottir, Saxo Moltke-Leth, Cecilia Loffredo

Plot: The Viking children Røskva and Tjalfe embark on an adventurous journey from Midgard to Valhalla with the gods Thor and Loki. Life in Valhalla, however, turns out to be threatened by the dreaded Fenrir wolf and the god’s barbaric archenemies, the Jotnar. Side by side with the gods the two children must fight to save Valhalla from the end of the world – Ragnarok.

Tagline – Let the journey begin

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Dark Norse God Story

Story: Valhalla: Legend of Thor starts in a small village where children Tjalfe (Moltke-Leth) and Roskva (Loffredo) live, they get visits from Gods, with Thor (Moller) being one of the most regular, Thor offers to take Tjalfe and Roskva back to Valhalla, the home of the Gods, with his brother Loki (Al-Jabouri), where the two will have a chance to learn about the home of the Gods.

As the two children learn more about Valhalla, they find themselves separated, with Roskva learning she could be part of a prophecy that could bring about the end of the Valhalla, with the Ragnarok event happening, the two must work with the Gods to stop this happening.

Thoughts on Valhalla: Legend of Thor

Characters – Tjalfe is the mortal who is selected to go to Valhalla, he is taken and takes his young sister in this journey, where he starts to lose his faith in the gods, falling into the hands of the giants, the greatest enemies of the gods. Roskva is the younger sister who learns her place in the world, she is bigger than the gods believed, being a sign for the end of the world in Valhalla, proving herself along the way. Thor is guiding the mortals through Valhalla, he isn’t like anything we have seen in comic book movies, but he is a warrior that will step up to any challenge, Loki is calmer and smarter that his brother, he will fight when needed, but is always needing to be watched.

PerformancesWe have a strong cast here with both child stars Cecilia Loffredo and Saxo Moltke-Leth both showing the learning side, while the God characters played by Roland Moller and Dulfi Al-Jabouri working very well too, being different to anything we have seen before.

StoryThe story here follows two mortals being taken to the world of the gods, where they find themselves important parts of the battle for power between the gods and giants. When you hear the name Thor, you automatically think of the Marvel superheroes, plenty of flash, only the original origins of Thor, Odin, Loki and others comes from Norse mythology, this story dives into the Norse mythology for the story showing the heroes like warriors instead of superheroes, what we end up with is something that we have seen many legends, myth or fables of the past achieve in the battle to survive. It does show us how gods were seen from the history behind them, showing us a new way to understand the heroes of the past.

AdventureThe adventure takes the two children are taken to a new world where they are able to make an impact in a fight for the land, a position they have never been able to be in at their home.

SettingsThe locations used are beautiful, with the open spaces being truly breath taking, while the interiors showing the darker environment the characters would be in.

Scene of the Movie – Fenrir first appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The contests.

Final Thoughts This is a much darker, but truer to the origin of the Norse gods mythology, it is an adventure that shows the reason for the connection between the two worlds.

Overall: Entertaining Mythology Movie.

Signature Entertainment presents Valhalla: Legend of Thor on DVD & Digital HD from June 29th

The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark (1980) Movie Review

Director: Charles Jarrott

Writer: Steven W Carabatsos, Sandy Glass, George Arthur Bloom (Screenplay) Ernest K Gann (Story)

Starring: Elliott Gould, Genevieve Bujold, Ricky Schroder, Vincent Gardenia, Tammy Lauren, John Fujioka, Yuki Shimoda

Plot: When a plane carrying various animals makes a forced landing on a desert island, the only chance to escape is to convert the plane into a boat.

Tagline – On a wing and a prayer… they built a legend.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Little Adventure

Story: The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark starts as debt riddled Noah Dugan (Gould) is given a chance to clear some of his debts with a flight for a missionary Bernadette Lafleur (Bujold) who is trying to take some animals to a remote island in the Pacific, knowing how difficult the flight is with animals, Noah reluctantly agrees, unaware children Bobby (Schroder) and Julie (Lauren) have boarded the plane.

When the plane ends up going off course, the plane lands on another island, one that still has Japanese soldiers on believing the war is still on going and they must try and put the differences aside to survive the island.

Thoughts on The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark

Characters – Noah Dugan has left himself in debt to loan sharks that are looking to get their money back, he has 24-hours to find the funds, which sees him turn to every person who could give him a pilot job, with his last resort being Stoney, a flight he doesn’t want to make, but sees as his chance to escape for now. He doesn’t like the idea of animals and once he learns the children have joined it only makes him grumpier, even if he will always try to do the right thing. Bernadette Lafleur is the missionary looking to make a difference on an island colony, she is leaving the orphanage to make this happen, with the word of God by her side, she is the one that always remains calm during each crisis they face. Bobby and Julie are the two children that sneak onto the plane as they want to be with their animals, they just make everything more difficult for the adults.

PerformancesElliott Gould in the leading role is great to watch, he reacts like any normal person through the situations they handle. Genevieve Bujold is strong too being the opposite to Gould through the film, while the child stars do bring the annoying side required.

StoryThe story follows a reluctant pilot and the missionary group he is transporting crash land on an island and they must figure out how to get off the island alive. This story is focused on putting aside differences to achieve things, with the opposite mindset of both Noah and Bernadette needing to show they can both help each other escape the island. It does try to reflect the biblical story of Noah’s ark, which is doesn’t reach the levels of in anyway, but ends up doing everything right for a safe escape from desert island story.

Adventure The adventure side of the film is all about trying to survive the island, it does let the children feel like they are enjoying themselves.

SettingsThe film is set mostly on the desert island, it looks beautiful and has everything you would expect to see on one, working perfectly for the film.

Scene of the Movie – Set sail.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – How did they get the cow in the boat part?

Final Thoughts This is an interesting adventure that checks off the boxes with ease, has a strong lead with a safe adventure to survive.

Overall: Enjoyable Adventure.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – R – Rough Stuff (2017) Movie Review

Director: Jonathan Adams

Writer: Jonathan Adams (Screenplay)

Starring: Gareth Rickards, Vincent Andriano, Sam Glissan, Katie Garfield, Jamie Kristian, Hayley Sullivan, Adam Horner

Plot: An activist group makes a deal with treasure-seeking Rovers and their modified four-wheel-drives for an expedition through treacherous Australian terrain. Tensions rise and ulterior motives are revealed with exciting off-road chases, daring rescues and amazing discoveries to follow.

Tagline – No Roads. No Worries.

Runtime: 2 Hours

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Adventure 101

Story: Rough Stuff starts as three treasure seekers Buzz (Rickards), Abe (Andriano) and Scraps (Glissan) agree to help an activist group containing, Skye (Garfield), Eric (Kristian), Tom (Horner) and Tori (Sullivan) to travel across the Australian outback in search for the treasure, while the activists are searching for a place for their campaign.

As the group are on their journey they find themselves being hunted down by a bounty hunter, which adds the intensity to the adventure and chase across the outback.

Thoughts on Rough Stuff

Characters – Buzz, Abe and Scraps are rovers that travel around the outback searching for treasure, they get themselves in trouble more often than not, which sees them agreeing to work with the activists that are travelling around the outback, they know how the survive the conditions and know how the avoid capture from the ruthless Ranger. Tori, Tom, Skye and Eric are activists that are looking to go out to the outback to film a video which will spread their message, while not all of them are as trustworthy as the rovers are being told about.

PerformancesThe performances in the film aren’t the most convincing, with most of the being filled into the generic, with the rovers being typical outback figures, while the activists just feel like they are made to be hippies.

StoryThe story follows treasure hunters and activists that reluctantly team up to take down a corrupt plan to destroy the popular outback that has been part of the history for years, while trying to find the treasure that is only part of myth. This isn’t the most entertaining story, it tries to keep changing the character’s mindsets through the film which just doesn’t connect with the characters through the film. It does have moments which could have been a lot more fun then they come off, because that does seem to be the plan here too.

AdventureThe adventure side of the film is mostly following the race around the outback, which puts our characters on an adventure which will help them make it through the events of the film.

SettingsThe film is set in the outback, which is a great beautiful backdrop to everything we are seeing the film.

Scene of the Movie – The chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Too many characters decision changes.

Final Thoughts This is an adventure film that tries to do a lot more than it needs to, which only takes away from the fun it wants to be having.

Overall: Simple adventure film.